Birder's Guide

MAR 2018

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 64 of 73

ther side of the Atlantic. But note that the dead of winter, from about the middle of November to the end of January, is a very difficult time for birding in Iceland. The weather is at its most challenging, and there is very little daylight. The northern lights are at their finest around this time, however. Waterfowl and shorebird migra- tions are in full swing in May and again in late summer, and both of those seasons can be quite exciting. All things consid- ered, most birders traveling to Iceland for the first time will want to be there some- time between mid-May and the end of June. The weather in Iceland is highly variable; however, the na- tional forecasts are surprisingly accurate, at least at a macro level: gener- ally sunny here… rain - ing all day there, etc. Check for Icelandic Pronunciation While I am not much of an expert in Icelandic pronunciation, I hope you find the following helpful as you navigate the pronunciation of Icelandic place names. The key thing to highlight is that Icelandic contains three letters that are no longer used in the English alphabet. The extra letters are: Ð | ð (called "eth"), pronounced as a voiced th sound as in this , the , and soothe . Þ | þ (called "thorn"), pronounced as an unvoiced th sound as in thin , Thursday , and beneath . Æ | æ (called "ash"), pronounced as a long i , as in high and kite . The following web page is a reasonable summary of pronunciation. It's the "other sounds" listed there which tend to tie the tongues of non-native speakers!: the latest. At the micro level, the oft-quot- ed saw "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes" is at its most appropriate in Iceland, and birders should be prepared for many different types of conditions at nearly any season. Winter is cold, but near the coast it's not often far below freezing, though snow is frequent and many interior roads become blocked in the wintertime. Summer days can be quite mild, or they could bring a strong north wind, rain, and 35 degrees Fahrenheit—or maybe all of that in the span of a few hours. In spring or fall, just about anything short of a tornado is pos- sible. Be ready for anything. How to Go Iceland Air offers flights to Iceland from several major airports in the U.S. and Canada. All flights arrive at Keflavik International Airport on the Reykjanes Peninsula, about 40 minutes outside of Reykjavik, the Icelandic capital. A small- er domestic airport in Reykjavik offers flights to destinations within Iceland, but it is much more practical to travel within Iceland by rental car. Iceland is very much a car culture, with 63 April 2018 | Birder's Guide to Travel

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